Describe your project
We wWe would like to invest in equipment to ensure our community-owned farmland and countryside is accessible to everyone in our local community, specifically the disabled and the elderly. Fordhall Organic Farm is free for the community to access, we have three beautiful trails around the farm, but with uneven ground and livestock in the fields, it can be impossible for those in a wheelchair or unsteady on their feet to access. We would like to purchase an off road buggy which will be accessible for members of our community to hire. This will enable more members of our local community the ability to enjoy nature, our farm and the wonderful English countryside with the rest of their family. They should not feel isolated or restricted to only our café and farm shop (all wheelchair accessible). The technology is there. Please help us to purchase it.
How will your project benefit your local community?
This project will see infrastructure improvements as well as equipment purchase to allow more members of our local community to access Fordhall Organic Farm. Accessing the countryside is proven to improve an individual’s sense of well-being. Living in a rural community can also be very isolating and can then lead to depression. Our farm is the hub of the local community, indeed it is owned by them. We already operate a care farm, youth project and offer school visits throughout the year. However, the elderly and disabled in our community are restricted when they come to us – this should not be the case. This project will allow those unsteady on their feet, or in a wheelchair the opportunity to access the countryside, visit the livestock and be with nature alongside their family. It will enhance community cohesion, improve well-being and reduce rural isolation. It will enable us to increase their connection to the outdoor space, help rebuild those connections between the landscape and our food, and provide family experiences that in the past, one member of the family may have had to miss out on.
Please give details of any support you have from your local community
Our local community own Fordhall Organic Farm, after it was placed in community ownership in 2006 following a high profile campaign to save the farm from industrial development. Now owned by over 8000 non-profit making community shareholders, the farm is a fully supported local asset. We have a local board of directors elected from our membership each year who manage the strategic direction of the farm as we move forward. Many of our members are in fact elderly and struggle to visit the farm past the farm shop and café. This is a real shame and heart breaking to see.
How big is your community? And how many people will benefit from your project?
We have 8000 community shareholders, over 100 volunteers and over 20,000 visitors per year. We anticipate over 100 people per year benefiting from these improvements.
Tell us what you intend to spend the money on.
We would like to purchase an off road buggy and a wheelchair off road adapter to be able to offer local people visiting Fordhall.
When and why was your project founded?
Fordhall Community Land Initiative was founded in 2005 to save Fordhall Organic Farm from industrial development. In a high profile public campaign the young siblings of organic pioneer, Arthur Hollins, raised over £800,000 to purchase the farm and place it into community-ownership.